Black Friday sales on track for record high
Americans eager to nab holiday discounts lined up at stores on Black Friday, putting what in recent years has been the busiest shopping day of the year on track for record sales.
Black Friday sales in stores and online were up 12% by mid-morning, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending broadly across cards and cash. By noon Eastern time, shoppers had spent a total of $5.8 billion — up 7% compared to the same period last year, data from the software company Salesforce shows.
"Retail spending has been on the rise throughout the day," Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO or department store chain Saks, said in a report. "As of 3 p.m. today, Mastercard SpendingPulse reports that total retail sales are up nearly 30% compared to last year, with apparel and department store sales leading the way."
Consumers, who spent $5.1 billion on Thanksgiving Day, are expected to shell out between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion on Friday, according to Adobe Digital Insights. The market research firm forecasts that online sales in November and December will hit a record $207 billion, which would mark a 10% increase over last year.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 108 million people are expected to shop at stores or online on Black Friday.
The final spending tally for Black Friday will offer a major hint if momentum that started building earlier in the season will hold throughout the entire Thanksgiving shopping period.
The most popular online shopping categories this year were luxury handbags, footwear and home appliances, according to Salesforce.
Despite the increase in ecommerce, online retailers are reporting that more products are out of stock amid supply-chain disruptions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such "out of stock" messages are 167% higher than they were before the pandemic, in January 2020, according to Adobe.
Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette said the company is prepared. "We are deep and we are ready," he said, noting inventory levels are up 20% compared to last year. "We are in good shape."
Tim Clayburn of Pentagon City, Virginia, hit the mall on Friday morning to ensure he could find the gifts he wanted for family members.
"Everyone is so worried about not having things shipped to you on time," he told the Associated Press. "I'd rather just get stuff in person so I don't have to worry about the shipping."
—The Associated Press contributed to this report
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